The metro Atlanta area is home to many parks, pools and trails, but some are so popular that they can get a bit crowded.
If you're looking to find an urban escape, try these eight destinations that have a more relaxed, quiet feel:
453 Freedom Pkwy, Atlanta
A 35-acre park is tucked away on the grounds of the Carter Presidential Center, and it's home to many different gardens, including one that has more than 40 varieties of roses. Take some time to relax as you stroll past the koi pond and through the Japanese and cut flower gardens.
625 Park Ave., Atlanta
Grant Park Pool is surrounded by its namesake historic neighborhood's beautifully lush trees and hills, creating a cool oasis. The pool has swimming lanes and a splash pad, and it’s usually open the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. You can swim for free from 12:30-4 p.m. on weekdays (except holidays and pool hours do change seasonally.)
1978 Sandy Ford Pkwy, Sandy Springs
Rottenwood Creek is a tributary of the Chattahoochee River, and the trail takes you past the river's scenic banks. After following the creek for a bit, the trail continues on as Bob Callan Trail. It's paved, so it's a good one to try if you don't want to get your shoes muddy, but it does contain some hills.
130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta (Atlanta History Center)
Part of the Atlanta History Center, Swan Woods Trail is a path that winds through 10 acres of forest. You'll be able to see native ferns and wildflowers in Fern Circle and also spot evidence of terraced cotton fields that were abandoned long ago. A Garden for Peace features a life-sized sculpture of a tree that's ringed by people holding hands.
95 Mill St., Roswell
Vickery Creek is also sometimes called Big Creek, and it's the site of a beautiful, quiet trail. You'll be able to enjoy plenty of interesting scenery along the way, including Roswell Mill's waterfall, covered bridges and historic mills. It's an easy path of about five miles that includes a good bit of forested shade. You may even be able to spot heron or geese near the creek.
32 Lafayette Drive NE, Atlanta
Although it's located just a few blocks away from Piedmont Park in the Ansley Park neighborhood, Winn Park is much quieter and has a more intimate feel. Relax beside the pond or on one of the park's swings or benches and take in the view of older historic homes, mature trees and Atlanta's skyline. It also includes an iris garden along Peachtree Circle, complete with ponds and a waterfall.
7645 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs
(Next to the North Fulton County Government Annex building)
Big Trees Forest Preserve is a 30-acre forest and plant and wildlife sanctuary located about four miles north of I-285 and was a previously threatened urban forest. The three trails total only about a mile, and the terrain is easy to walk. The springs and streams along the way make it seem as though you're far away from the city.
1551 W Nancy Creek Drive NE, Atlanta
Stop in for a swim at Murphey Candler Park in DeKalb County, and you can also enjoy trails and picnic areas while you're there. The pool is shaded by tall pines and feels like it's in the middle of a peaceful bit of forest. It stays open from May 30 to Labor Day.